Global forum seen to boost Mindanao peace process

Written by John Unson.

Organizers are expecting the impact of the Oct. 19 to 20, 2016 international autonomy and federalism forum to reverberate through the country’s politically-dynamic south.

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Lawyer Benedicto Bacani, director of the foreign-assisted Institute for Autonomy and Governance (IAG), on Tuesday said foreign experts on autonomy and federalism shall talk one after another during the two-day activity in Makati City.

The IAG is Central Mindanao’s most popular peace-advocacy entity, being assisted by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) of Germany. The Cotabato City-based IAG has actively been supporting the Southern Mindanao peace process, meant to put peaceful closure to the decades-old Moro issue.

Bacani said some 20 experts on autonomy, governance and federalism from abroad will talk on their experiences on peace-building, civic management and community empowerment interventions during the event.

The gathering shall be held at one of the function facilities of the Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati City.

“It’s all systems go for Asia-Pacific's first and most comprehensive forum on autonomy, federalism and governance,” Bacani said.

The forum is a bilateral initiative of the IAG and its German benefactor, KAS, which has various programs propagating peace, interfaith solidarity and good governance in many parts of the world.

Some of the lecturers in the two-day international forum will come from Northern Ireland, Scotland, Indonesia, Australia, Finland, Spain, India, Sri Lanka and Myanmar.

Bacani said local speakers shall also talk about governance and politics in the country’s Cordillera Region and in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The former chairperson of the Constitution of Kenya Review Commission, Yash Pal Ghai, will lead the pool of foreign speakers in the forum.

The two-day gathering shall be capped off with 16 interactive dialogues and panel discussions organized jointly by IAG and KAS.

Besides the Kenyan lead speaker in the forum, the IAG is also expecting the participation to the gathering of political analysts and governance experts Markku Suksi from Finland; Rekha Saxena from India; Edward Aspinall from Australia; Nico Steytler from South Africa; George Anderson from Canada; and Sujit Choundry from the United States of America.

In an earlier joint online statement, the IAG and KAS said participants to the forum, now with about 500 registrants, shall get updates on latest governance modalities and programs on autonomy and federalism from speakers.

Some of the prospective participants to the two-day forum are from politically-troubled areas in Southern Mindanao and the ARMM.

The ARMM’s five provinces, Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur, which are both in mainland Mindanao, and the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi are touted as “politically-dynamic” areas.

The region is beset with peculiar peace and security issues the ARMM government and Malacañang are trying to address through diplomatic interventions and participatory governance.

The KAS has been helping facilitate continuing security and governance dialogues among leaders in the autonomous region and members of the central core of the two revolutionary groups in the area, the Moro National Liberation Front and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Source: Philippine Star

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